Mumbai, India Report of what it's like to live there - 02/28/14
Personal Experiences from Mumbai, India
American School of Bombay
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
I am a parent.
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
One completed 4 years at the high school. The second completed 11th and 12th grade.
3. During what years were you affiliated with this school?
4. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
5. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
International student body. U.S. curriculum. State Department "supported" school where the vast majority of the U.S. consulate community send their children.
Admissions & Welcome:
1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?
A: The admissions process and placement procedures are completely transparent. Subjects in the HS are taught in concordance so if a student needs to move, for example, to a higher or lower math class, this can be done without disruption to his course schedule.
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
A: The school works to transition new families to the school prior to their arrival throught its ambassador program. Incoming families are linked with current families who become a point of contact for questions about the school itself as well as for living in Mumbai. The school is a friendly and welcoming environment where new students are quickly integrated. The average stay at the school is under 3 years. Because of the fluidity of the community, all are aware of the necessity to support newcomers.
Administration & School Procedures:
1. Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:
The high school (HS) is a welcoming place as a community of peers as well as teachers. The individual subject classes and grades bond quickly due to their smaller size and consistent curriculum (all students, regardless of IB diploma, IB certificate or ASB diploma tracks, are in the same classes), and the WWW trips are done in the fall, each with a cross-grade cohort of HS students, help the HS to quickly form supportive bonds. A new program of "houses" engaged in friendly competition further builds HS "spirit" and connectedness.
2. For the following attributes, down to the next blank box, grade your experience at the school on a scale of A (excellent) to F (unacceptable/terrible) and provide comments:<br><br>Overall fair and equitable treatment of all students and families:
A: Every student is looked at as an individual and given opportunities for diferentiated learning, from those requiring support to those who are high achieving. No single constituent at the school is treated differently from the others.
3. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
A: Teachers are readily accessible via email and for appointments. Parent-teacher conferences take place 2 times/year and are well attended by families. Teachers are able to spend sufficient amount of time with parents and students during these conferences.
4. Services for gifted students who need academic challenge and students with learning difficulties:
B: The Student Support Team in conjunction with course teachers and the HS counselor and school psychiatrist identify students who need academic challenge as well as those who need additional support. The IB curriculum is rigorous so the majority of students at the school are sufficiently challenged by the program; however, those students who can be further challenged are provided with support/opportunity in a variety of forms. The website provides detailed information: http://www.asbindia.org/page.cfm?p=19 and in the Student Support Services Parent Handbook: https://sites.google.com/a/asbindia.org/student-support-services-parent-handbook/
5. Availability and variety of after-school activities for various ages:
A+: The co-curricular program is quite extensive across the entire school. Programs also occur during school breaks and summer vacation.
6. Maintenance of appropriately high standards for all students:
7. Homework assigned (quality, quantity):
A: Amount and quality are appropriate for the IB program. Teachers are also available before and after school as well as during lunch breaks to assist with assignments as needed.
8. Administration-parent communication:
A: The school has a format for news to go out weekly to parents discussing both short- and long-term calender items. The administration is very willing to meet with parents to discuss students on an individual basis.
9. Teacher-student communication:
A: Teacher-student communication is robust using social media, blogs and email. We have found the teachers across all HS grades to be very communicative.
10. Academics, answer the following questions "yes" or "no" with an explanation if appropriate:<br><br>Are there any classes or subjects where students are not appropriately challenged?
11. Does the school offer a wide variety of elective or non-core classes such as art, music, and drama?
Art, Music and drama are part of the core courses. Elective course options are increasing because of the school's willingness to access online sources. My daughter has been able to do special coursework that allowed her to assist in teaching and conducting the 6th-grade band. This year, she has been able to focus on music theory outside the IB curriculum.
12. Please describe any classes or programs that you believe are missing:
PE throughout the HS years (including 11th and 12th grade).
13. Are there academic requirements such as trips or other activities that cost money in addition to school fees?
14. Have your children participated in the activities offered? If no, please indicate why:
15. Does the school provide appropriate assistance to new students?
Academics & Resources:
1. What personal or academic counseling resources are available at this school? Is there a dedicated college counselor at the school? Is he/she familiar with universities worldwide?
B: There is a full-time HS counselor who works in concordance with the student support services team as well as the IB coordinator. The counselor is heavily involved in college application process/letters of recommendation and provides support to students and their families.
2. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
A: BYOD program is school-wide in the HS and middle school and is very well resourced with tech support on both the elementary school and senior school campuses.
3. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
B: The physical education program has 2 components in both 9th and 10th grades: physical education and health. I would prefer PE to be available through 12th grade.
4. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
5. Are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses available in upper grades? If this is an IB school, is the full diploma required of all students?
AP courses are not taught at the school. It follows the IB curriculum. Core courses are available and a host of online courses are available from American Sign Language to computer programing.
6. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
7. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
B: Visual arts has 3 courses: visual art elective, art history, and IB visual arts.
Drama courses: Drama, IB Theatre.
Music: Choir, Concert Band, Wind ensemble, IB music (Jazz band meets after school throughout the year).
8. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
9. What extra-curricular activities (including sports) are available at this school? Have your children participated in these activities? What activities do you feel are missing at the school?
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
2. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.
1. What is the greatest strength of this school?
Expectation of for all students to achieve at their individual optimal level which is realized through the fantastic teaching staff at the school.
2. Greatest challenge?
Meeting the needs of a diverse school population even though it isn't particularly large in number.
3. Would you choose this school again? Why?
The administration activly recruits excellent teachers and then provides fantastic opportunities for teacher development. The quality of teaching is directly reflected in the achievement of all the students at the school and the success rate they have in the IB curriculum, especially when the school has open enrollment and all students are strongly encouraged to complete the IB diploma program. This environment coupled with the community spirit and welcoming attitudes of the school administration, students and parents, makes ASB a unique place to be. The school mission is embraced enthusiastically.